This is the SOP I wrote for the LBJ School, any feedback is welcomed - please!
Running for public office has always been a dream of mine, for as long as I can remember. As I have grown older, the reasoning behind the choice has changed, but my motivation and drive have remained the same. Career politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are so out-of-touch with the average American; Congress spends weeks, months, and multiple sessions in stalemate due to the hyper-partisan climate while American families are struggling due to an ongoing Trade War, senseless gun violence, environmental issues, and cuts to social service programs and healthcare. Climate Change and growing inequality are two of the biggest challenges that the world will face in the next half century, and the United States needs to be at the forefront, combating these issues head on rather than standing in stalemate due to an ‘R’ or ‘D’ next to Congress People's names. Global warming, vanishing glaciers, rising sea levels and increased pollution have the potential to do catastrophic damage to the environment and the planet as a whole. What’s more, current economic and tax policy, coupled with cuts to social service programs, have led the United States wealth gap to expand exponentially; billionaires and corporations are receiving tax breaks, subsidies, and other incentives while families such as mine are seeing tax increases, cuts to vital social service programs, and politicians who are forgetting about us.
Being raised in a lower middle class family has had struggles and disadvantages over the years. One of the biggest disadvantages is being used as a pawn in political chess. Oftentimes, political demagogues, Conservative and Liberal alike, play to the middle class’s fear of tax increases, cuts to social service programs, and the rising rates for health insurance, for votes. Candidate A might state in his campaign that he/she will cut taxes x% for families, or earmark however many million dollars for social service programs such as food stamps, only to renege on those promises once in office. Far too often, families like mine have been taken advantage of - used for votes, and then neglected on the legislative agenda, I am hoping to change that. Broken promises and the need to change policy decisions and directives have driven me to obtain my Masters degree in Public Policy - I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch as the growing middle class, especially my lower class continues to endure tax increases, a lowered access to healthcare, and cuts to social service programs. Furthering my education at the Lyndon B. Johnson school will allow me to
I am applying to the Public Affairs program at the Lyndon B. Johnson School as I want to further my education in order to make the changes that politicians have promised my family, and families like mine for years. Moreover, attending the LBJ School would allow me to gain hands-on experience with policy, learn from some of the greatest minds in Public Policy, and prepare me for a role in the ever changing political world. The United States needs more young minds combating these issues, not career politicians who are happy to sit in a stalemate as long as their checks are cashed and agenda is met. Ten years from now, I see myself running for public office, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind about it. Multi-Millionaire Congressmen and Women do not know the struggle that lower class families face and are unprepared for the next half century. Congress and State Legislatures need young minds, fresh voices, and a breath of fresh air in order to deal with two of the most important issues that are going to be facing this country, a climate crisis and rising inequality, I want to be one of those young voices. A Master’s Degree from the LBJ School will allow me to learn how to deal with these issues, give me the proper tools to be an effective policy crafter, and learning from distinguished professors such as David Eaton and Kenneth Flamm will allow me to better understand environmental and economic issues, while also learning the newest and best ways to combat them.
While the Public Policy program at LBJ drew me in immediately and I do not necessarily need to focus on a concentration, I was particularly interested in having a concentration in either Energy Studies or the duel Business and MPAff program. I am particularly interested in the work of Professors Pat Wong, Sheila Olmstead and the aforementioned David Eaton and Kenneth Flamm. Dr. Wong’s work on welfare reform and social service coordination are particularly of interest to me because of my own personal background and experience working in the Wisconsin State Legislature, as the Representative I interned for dealt with many welfare reform Bills and sat on a social service committee.
I feel as though I am a match for this program due to my internship experience and motivations. Experience in the Wisconsin State Legislature for a year and a half and with the Sierra Club for six months have allowed me to gain hands-on experience with policy, cost-benefit analysis, and have afforded me the opportunity to help craft specific Bills. Moreover, meetings with constituents, lobbyists, and lawmakers have given me an opportunity to fully understand and respect the political process. Far too often the Representative I interned for would receive constituent letters that stated “please save my healthcare” or “I cannot endure another tax cut” and all I could write back or say on the phone was that I was sorry. I felt powerless and voiceless, both as an intern and as someone who could identify with these constituents. On the other end of the spectrum, working at the Sierra Club allowed me to see the legislative process from a different lense. Lobbying for certain environmental protections, increased funding for programs, and attempting to sway budgets and legislators showed me that with enough persistence, voices of all backgrounds can be heard and be successful.
Completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has allowed me to take classes with distinguished professors and given me an opportunity to thrive in classes such as: Ecology, Environmental Conservation, Statistics, Microeconomics, and various Public Policy classes.
President Obama stated that “change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Rather than waiting for a once-in-a-lifetime politician to fix the political woes of America, I have decided that I want to be the change we seek. A Masters degree from the LBJ will allow me to advance my career and ensure my voice is heard.